THE ROLE OF PUBLIC RESEARCH ORGANISATIONS IN THE INNOVATION SYSTEM Wolfgang POLT Joanneum Research – Centre for Economic and Innovation Research Innovation Research and Policy – International Conference in Honour of Hariolf Grupp Mannheim 3.3.20111
Main topics Motivation and rationale of the debate Definition(s) of PROs/RTOs Main trends and observations Research questions and policy challenges2
Motivation and rationale PROs/RTOs: .. are important parts of the science / innovation systems in many countries ..have seen their roles debated and contested several times in the past decades …and in many countries are in the centre of technology and innovation policy debates again …restructuring of the science systems of post-communist countries …changing missions and find new business models (e.g. to achieve greater role in TT) …adapting divisions of labour with in the science/innovation systems (e.g. German debate about ‚plilarization‘) Yet, we find sound knowledge about the sector3 limited !
Background (I)Recent studies on PROs/RTOs: W. Polt et al. (2010): Das deutsche Forschungs- und Innovationssystem. Studien zum deutschen Innovationssystem Nr. 11-2010 Berlin/Wien/Mannheim R.Hofer / W.Polt: European Research and Technology Organisations: Models, Practices and Cases. In: Fundacion Conocimiento y Desarollo (Ed.): La Contribution de las Universidades Espanolas al Desarollo. Barcelona 2010 E. Arnold / J. Clark / Z. Javorka: Impacts of European4 RTOs. A Report to EARTO. Brighton 2010
Background (II) M. Berger / R. Hofer: The Internationalisation of R&D: How about RTOs? - Some Conceptual notions and qualitative insights from European RTOS in China. Joanneum Research – Working Paper. Vienna. June 2008 Hofer, R., Nones, B., Jantscher, E., Polt, W., Wiedenhofer, H.: Europäischer Benchmark der Entwicklungstrends außeruniversitärer Forschungsinstitutionen. Vienna 2007 Recent activities to better map the sector: Project in the context of the OECD RIHR (Research Institutions and Human Resources) and NESTI (National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators) Working Groups to (re)map the sector – currently:5
PROs / RTOs – an uncharted territory? Lack of commonly approved definition – despite the fact that we have statistical categories that appaer in OECD / EU statistics ! E.g.: sector categorization differs from country to country (public sector <-> enterprise sector) New forms of PPPs (like ‚competence centers‘) are hard to categorize6
Definitions EARTO definiton(s): „Organisations which as their predominant activity provide research and development, technology and innovation services to enterprises, governments and other clients“ Or more narrowly as institutions that are based on the following model of activities: „exploratory R&D to develop an area of capability or technology, further work to refine and exploit that knowledge in relatively unstandardised ways, often in collaborative projects with industry and are involved in more routinized exploitation of knowledge (e.g. measuring and testing),including consulting.“7 (adapted from Arnold et al 2010)
Main trends and observations (I) PROs/RTOs: a seemingly declining sector? PROs/RTOs: a sector with out a clear mssion, serving too many masters, striving for too many goals? PROs/RTOs: locked-in geographically and mired in institutional inertia?8
Main observations on internationalisation Growing share of funding accrued from abroad Having a pivotal role in the Eus Framework programmes for RTD …but still linked to predominantly national/regional customer base …not able to ‚follow‘ the internationalisation of their clients?20
Main observations on positioning in the science / innovation system Increasing range of activities increasing overlaps with ranges of activities of other actors …but (still) distinct attribution of roles and competences to PROs/RTOs need for a clear mission and role, good division of labour AND smooth cooperation21
Main observations on the size of the sector Decreasing share might be a statistical artefact statistical ambiguities, largely ignorat of new institutional forms(PPPs)22
Main observations on the size of the sector Decreasing share might be a statistical artefact statistical ambiguities, largely ignorant of new institutional forms(PPPs) OECD RIHR/NESTI activities regarding ‚Mapping PRIs‘23
Research questions and policy challenges First and foremost: to get a better statistical handle of the sector necessary to amend / adapt the FRASCATI manual ? Better understand the different ‚knowledge markets‘, their development and the potential market failures to assess the ‚public purpose‘ of PROs/RTOs Degree of Specialisation? Amount of base funding / block grants? Performance criteria for PROs/RTOs (Publications? Patents?) New role for PROs/RTOS in ‚new mission oriented research‘? (Re)define the division of labour between the actors in the science / innovation system Relation to Universities? Re-Integration? More institutionalised24 forms of collaboration?